LOS ANGELES A walkout by
dock workers at the California ports of Los Angeles and Long
Beach that entered its fourth day Friday is having an uneven
impact on steel trade, with most imports arriving unimpeded but
some disruption occurring in exports of containerized
Dockworkers at seven of eight
container terminals in Los Angeles and a reported three of six
terminals in Long Beach were honoring picket lines by clerical
members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union,
shutting down those facilities. The workers, who have been
without a contract since June 2010, allege that shippers are
outsourcing their jobs overseas, a claim shippers deny.
The bulk freight terminal
operated by Wilmington, Calif.-based Pasha Stevedoring &
Terminals remained in operation Friday, a Port of Los Angeles
spokesman said. Market sources said most steel imports through
Los Angeles move through that facility.
A spokesman for the Port of Long
Beach confirmed that the ports bulk steel terminal also
One trader said the effect on
his companys import business had been "zero" because
Pasha was continuing to operate. "Theres been no impact
on deliveries" from overseas, he said.
"Weve been receiving stuff
off the dock all week," said another import buyer, noting that
if the strike was causing a problem "somebody here would have
brought it up by now."
However, the shutdown of
container terminals has forced exporters of containerized scrap
to put the scrap arriving at their export yards into inventory
or seek other outlets, according to market sources. One
observer said the disruption had forced overseas scrap
customers to seek material from other ports or even other
Sources noted that
containers share of overall ferrous scrap exports has
grown as demand for bulk scrap from such large customers as
China and South Korea has fallen off.
"We are now starting to see
ships divert to other ports, including to Mexico," Geraldine
Knatz, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, said in a
statement. She added that "in todays shipping
environment, we cant afford to lose cargo or our
Talks between employers and
union negotiators were still under way Friday. "Were
hoping for a resolution today," the Port of Los Angeles
spokesman said of the negotiations.